Category: Latin America

Peruvian women, in 'fulbito Andino,' find light in the darkness

Peruvian women, in ‘fulbito Andino,’ find light in the darkness

Indigenous Andean women don colorful skirts(polleras) and play on weekends as respite from hard labors at home and in the fields.

Mexico | Despite opposition, loyalists continue to spread América brand

Mexico | Despite opposition, loyalists continue to spread América brand

Club América shirts predominate in the Georgia Dome in a friendly against AC Milan. The club has made itself a continental brand but has drawn loathing from Mexican compatriots, who shout, “Those colors make me sick!” With video »

Cinema | A soccer player's escape from Argentina ... into philosophy

Cinema | A soccer player’s escape from Argentina … into philosophy

Claudio Tamburrini—philosophy professor and former goalkeeper—speaks about his Mar 1978 decision to “opt for life” and escape an Argentine prison. With podcast »

Cinema | In ‘Tiro libre,’ walls of separation and misunderstanding

A film conceived by Chileans about the aspirations of Palestine’s national team has stirred a Chicago film festival—at least judging by an 11-page torrent of comments that debates which filmmaker deserves credit for the idea and which has the more authoritative connections to justice struggles (Ed M. Koziarski, “Social Justice, with Soccer,” Chicago Reader, Apr 3).

History | In hard stone, ancient ball-playing exploits remain

Ongoing exhibits in Chicago (“The Ancient Americas”) and Washington, D.C. (“Exploring the Early Americas”), feature artifacts of ball-playing in Mesoamerican cultures as part of larger surveys. (Mar 6)

Religion | Football’s place in yuletide ritual

Reports from distant cultures, in Guatemala and Burma, confirm how football insinuates itself into the most hallowed seasonal festivities.

Padaung writer Pascal Khoo Thwe recalls in From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey that football helped mark the festival calendar. To commemorate trophies at distant tournaments, his township team would receive homecoming welcome from a brass band playing Handel. But not The Messiah. (Dec 29)

Literature | ‘The planet is a ball’ … certainly in Suriname

Paramaribo, Suriname, Dec 12 | An itinerant search for football in the sweltering nether-zone of Suriname—hard to reach, its own authenticity as a country diminished by the locals—carries the reader through Daniel Titinger‘s 6,100-word narrative, “Kicking the Ball to Holland,” in the Virginia Quarterly Review (fall 07).

Cross of distinction | Cruz Azul’s visit to Atlanta offers another cultural intersection

Atlanta, Jul 25 | Much of soccer culture in the United States remains hidden, but matches such as the Jul 28 Copa Amistad between the Atlanta Silverbacks and Cruz Azul cast light on the place of the sport in everyday lives of Latinos.

Will Ramí­rez, publisher of Estadio, a Spanish-language sports weekly based in Tucker, Georgia, describes in our Jul 24 podcast how he and many of the 425,000 Hispanics in the Atlanta area remain linked to soccer despite, or because of, displacement. Also joining us are Silverbacks owner Boris Jerkunica and Los Angeles Times writer Sam Quinones.

Lofty discussions | Morales’s maneuvering in Zurich earns reprieve for La Paz

Zurich, Switzerland, Jul 6 | Is it safe to play football on the Andean altiplano or the Tibetan plateau? FIFA has not decided yet, but it continues to modify its judgment, originally decreed in May, that FIFA competitions could not be staged above 2,500m. We interview, as part of our third podcast, Eduardo Ávila of Global Voices Online to learn about Bolivia’s reaction to FIFA’s decision-making process.

Souls on ‘The Line’ | Guatemala City sex workers turn to fútbol for a sense of who they are

Of football documentaries that favor the human element there is no shortage of late. One of the most recent is Estrellas de la Lí­nea, screened at English-language film festivals as The Railroad All-Stars, about Guatemala City sex workers who in 2004 organized themselves as a football team.

Out of thin air | Where llamas and footballers prosper, FIFA fears to tread

La Paz, Bolivia, Jun 15 | On May 27, FIFA’s executive committee announced the ban on competitive international matches 2,500m above sea level. For once united internally and with their Andean neighbors, Bolivia—the country most severely affected—is organizing. A manifesto sponsored by several Bolivian newspapers concludes, “Bolivians are a poor people, we play football with humility, but we are dignified and we have a national character such that we will defend our rights when we are not at fault.”

Ryszard Kapuscinski, 1932-2007 | A witness to (soccer) war that lay in wait

Warsaw, Poland, Jan 30 | Ryszard Kapuscinski, 74, who died on Jan 23, rarely wrote about football. Yet the title of one of his best-known collections is “The Soccer War” (Granta, 1990), in which the title essay, translated from the Polish by William Brand, chronicles Kapuscinski’s insertion into the Honduran capital as war breaks out with El Salvador across the shared border.

Pinny lanes | On the margins and in the barrens, soccer gains a foothold

Deblois, Maine | In the part of the state that Mainers call Down East, soccer has flourished along with a bumper crop of wild blueberries.

Documenting the passed | ‘Cane ball’ trapped on celluloid

Mandalay, Burma, Apr 20 | Dry dispatches announcing chinlone tournaments appear occasionally in the New Light of Myanmar, the mouthpiece of Burma’s military regime.

The terse pronouncements show that despite the political and economic torpor and the governing junta’s Orwellian logic—the capital recently was relocated from Rangoon based partly on the forecasts of astrologers—a taste for the beauties of “cane ball” remains.

At home and away | With march, migrants seek space on foreign field

Decatur, Alabama | Until hundreds of thousands marched yesterday, it had become hard to piece together isolated movements from such places as Janesville, Wisconsin; Liberal, Kansas; Bowling Green, Kentucky; San Angelo, Texas; and Dalton, Georgia. These are small to mid-sized locales featured in recent media reports for burgeoning Hispanic populations and for the development of local, ethnically based soccer leagues.

Women’s football | In Colombia, fútbol for peace, but what about gender equity?

Anthropologist Beatriz Vélez on the intensely masculine world of Colombian fútbol and how it provokes “much suffering for women who play football.”

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